Exploring the relationship between health and activities: Implications for subjective experiences

Flora Miles


Background. Recent research demonstrated the positive effects of lifestyle factors on telomere health. These studies typically focus on activities such as diet, exercise, and meditation and their influence on telomere length. However, there is a lack of studies on other types of activities. Purpose. Through the Health and Retirement Study, social and creative activities were analyzed to explore their associations with overall health. Method. Secondary, cross-sectional regression analyses were conducted, examining the associations between social and creative activities with 2 measures of health: self-rated health and telomere length. Findings. Decreased frequency of writing was associated with longer (healthier) telomere lengths, and mixed findings were found for the relationship between activities and self-reported health. Implications. Various factors were discussed regarding the unexpected and inconsistent results. Most notably, this analysis calls for future studies to use participants’ subjective experiences of activity engagement to study its health benefits.

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